Tonight I smelled the inevitable, and “the inevitable” smelled a lot like barbecued chicken.
I call it the inevitable because, deep down in my heart, I’ve known this day was coming since last September. That was the month our ten-year-old barbecue died, and we still haven’t bought a new one, which is something I was mouthwateringly reminded of this evening as the aroma of barbecued poultry emanated from atop my neighbour’s deck.
All through last autumn I had plenty of chances to purchase a replacement, but I always found a reason not to. Every time we considered it I postponed, telling Loving Wife that I was searching for precisely the right model strong enough to withstand my “mad outdoor culinary skills.” Truth be told though, the delay mainly stemmed from the fact that a new barbecue is an extremely heavy object, and trying to carry one home on his own puts a guy at great risk of experiencing the sort of excruciating personal pain that comes immediately before he needs to invest in special suspenders and a lifetime helpful groin device.
The sad thing is that, had I made a move last year and bought one of those year-end clearance barbecues wedged between the Halloween candy and the Thanksgiving turkeys, I could have got a heck of a deal. But now though, when spring is just around the corner and the smell of mesquite is beginning to permeate the weekends, every store I enter has a massive display of expensive new models, and there’s nary a deal to be had.
It’s the season of the Revenge of the Barbecue Salesman. All through the winter he stood alone in Major Appliances, watching helplessly as we all strode past him, barely giving him a glance as we rushed about finishing our holiday shopping. Today though, when we’re all out buying garden supplies, prepping our lawns, and dusting off our golf shoes and baseball cleats, he knows that the pendulum has once again swung his way. In just a few short weeks the stock of new barbeques will be limited, and all the last-minute backyard chefs will be clustered around him, desperately waving credit cards in the air and bartering like Titanic passengers hoping to obtain a spot on the last lifeboat.
Customer: Please, please, PLEASE can I buy this barbecue? The Easter long weekend is coming and I’ve got company coming over.
Salesperson: Hmmm…that depends. Will you be interested in the special five-year extended service plan?
Customer: Yes, yes, of course!
Salesperson: Just one?
Customer: Oh no, not just one…I’d like several please. Give me four.
Salesperson (thoughtful pause): I don’t know…
Customer: …and I’ll take these two washing machines.
And that’s before he tells you that the propane tank isn’t even included.
Yes, my friends, this spring I’m be a walking, talking example of live-and-learn. In the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes: “He who hesitates is lost…plus he’s the only guy in the neighbourhood who is unable to cook his steaks over an open flame.”
So that’s my choice: pay springtime prices for a new barbecue, or save a few bucks by waiting until a year-end clearance sale and spend my summer boiling wieners in a pot on the stove.
Or maybe there’s an even better idea — if I bring the steaks, can I come over to your house this weekend?